NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Veterans Association

Background:
Through online research, I found that NECC is one of seven (out of a total of 15) Mass. community colleges (CC) without a private veterans area.
The nearest CCs to NECC, North Shore CC and Middlesex CC, both have particularly large veterans area, which are fully furnished with tables for studying, several computers, and a printer. NECC has a Veterans Services office that is intended for use by veterans, but it is very unaccommodating, as greater than half of it is taken up by an office cubicle (belonging to Veterans Services coordinator Jeff Williams) and other objects. The room also has windows looking out toward the NECC bookstore, which also creates an air of discomfort through a lack of privacy.
Overall, there are no socially beneficial resources for veterans at NECC. My main goal is to change that, as well as to help veterans feel proud of their service.

When did you start the petition for a space for veterans?
We, the Veterans and Servicepersons Organization (VSO), began collecting signatures for our petition in early February. We intended to do so earlier, but the school/club meeting cancellations set us back several weeks.

What type of space do you want, and do you have a space in mind at the school that may be available?
Primary goal: A place where vets can go that is centrally located on the Haverhill campus. We’d also like it to be large enough to comfortably seat around 8 people.
We had hoped to acquire half of the break room on the basement/first floor of the B building, but we recently learned that there are already plans to change it into either a computer lab or a new classroom. Another option we’ve considered is one of the smaller rooms in the library, akin to the Honors Lounge, but again, a central location is preferred for convenient access.
Interestingly, Veterans Services Coordinator Jeff Williams is in the process of acquiring a grant from an outside source that would essentially provide enough funds to furnish a new veterans study and/or recreation area.

How has your petition been going? Are you still collecting signatures?
The petition has been going well. So far, we’ve collected over 200 signatures, but don’t have an exact tally as of yet. We are still collecting signatures, and intend to do so until Bill Heineman’s semesterly open forum on the Haverhill campus, at which time we will present to him our collected signatures and make our case.

How many students are involved in getting this space?
There are five students directly involved in acquiring the space, but there is also a lot of informal support.

What is the space for?
The space would be used primarily to give past and present service members a place to study, relax, or just talk to others like them.

Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks, and take care!

Very Respectfully,
​Justin Merced, President
Veterans and Servicepersons Organization (VSO)
Northern Essex Community College
Cell: (978) 397-9313

Related Articles